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The best coffee in the Sydney CBD

The search is over, city-dwellers and peaky commuters. We've got your daily grind right here...

Photograph: Anna Kucera

There is a lot of bad coffee in this town. Thankfully, there’s a hell of a lot of good stuff too. In fact there’s some bloody brilliant coffee in the CBD, just waiting for you to come on in and order up. When you're in need of a city caffeine-fix, one of these ace coffee houses will see you right. Here's our guide to the best coffee in the Sydney CBD, from Circular Quay up to Wynyard, to Town Hall, Barangaroo and everywhere in between.

Not in the CBD? Here's where to find the best Sydney coffee elsewhere else, plus consult our guides to Sydney's best coffee experiencescycling cafés and Bondi cafés for more inspiration.

RECOMMENDED: Sydney's best coffee cocktails

The best coffee in the Sydney CBD

1

Skittle Lane

The space is beautiful but Skittle Lane is about more than Instagram-worthy interiors – these guys are manning two large steely silver La Marzocco coffee machines that pump out rich, gentle and very well made espressi. CBD workers know this too so there's a small line snaking out into the adjacent lobby.
Snack attack: A soft boiled egg on toast with parmesan and truffle oil.
Open on weekends? No
Wi-Fi? No

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Sydney
2

Cabrito Coffee Traders

They're roasting their own beans right there in Circular Quay, as well as at their outpost in Roseberry. The Milk Man house blend is super smooth and rich and you can take your own bag home for just $12.50.
Snack attack: Luxe Bakery muffins or a panini.
Open on weekends? Yes
Wi-Fi? Yes

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Circular Quay
3

Single O

The little CBD sister of the Surry Hills roaster has been doing ripper coffees since opening just north of Town Hall in early 2015. Service is ultra friendly and never snobby, you can buy your own beans and the takeaway brekkys are ace.
Snack attack: The NLT (next level toasties) include a classic Croque Monsieur.
Open on weekends? No
Wi-Fi? No

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Sydney
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4

Marlowe's Way

A flashy font above the kitchen says 'Serving soul since 2012'. They’ve certainly been tapping out some of the city's best coffees over the last five years. This café-by-day and bar-by-night is also peddling two kinds of black gold: they also sell funk and soul records.
Snack attack: Young Henry's braised beef brisket panini.
Open on weekends? No
Wi-Fi? No

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Sydney
5

Gumption

This Strand Arcade coffee haunt is rarely without a queue, and for a good reason – the coffee is excellent. It's also all you'll find in the eggshell blue shop, along with plenty of gifts for coffee nerds.
Snack attack: No snacks, sorry
Open on weekends? Yes
Wi-Fi? The Strand Arcade has its own Wi-Fi

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Sydney
6

Zeitgeist Cuisine

This unassuming cafe managed to convince this dairy-loving writer to switch up a full cream latte for a coconut coffee. While they still offer dairy milks, Zeitgeist specialise in alternative mylks, like almond, coconut and macadamia. Their beans come from their Bondi Coffee bar and roastery and you can also pick up vegan snacks and bowls.
Snack attack: Avo on toast, topped with coriander and crushed hazelnuts
Open on weekends? No
Wi-Fi? No

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Sydney
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7

Edition Coffee Roasters Circular Quay

This Edition Coffee Roasters outpost is doing one thing, and doing it well: coffee. While you won't find any of the Japanese-Nordic fusion-snacks they are known for in their Darlinghurst café, their house blend from India compliments the creaminess in the white coffees and they use an Ethiopian blend for their filter coffees and pour overs.
Snack attack: No snacks, sorry
Open on weekends? Yes
Wi-Fi? No

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Circular Quay
8

The Cross Eatery

If you prefer your latte on the punchier side, make tracks to the Cross. They are using Mecca beans, resulting in a cuppa that's robust in flavour and a fraction smaller than your regular takeaway latte.
Snack attack: Brickfields breakfast rolls
Open on weekends? No
Wi-Fi? No

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Sydney
9

Romolo

These guys do a roaring breakfast trade and tap out some fine coffees too. They're using Gyspy Espresso beans and the baristas give you the smile you need on an early Monday morning.
Snack attack: Chocolate roasted granola with coconut yoghurt and cocoa nibs
Open on weekends? Yes
Wi-Fi? The Strand Arcade has its own Wi-Fi

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Sydney
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10

Central Roasters

Hidden in a laneway that runs alongside the Metro Theatre, Central Roasters is one of those cafes that you're unlikely to stumble upon by accident so it's worth seeking out. They roast their own beans here (on our visit it's a rich Colombian and Indonesian blend) and regulars will love the prepaid coffee card systems which will get you a free cuppa for every seven you drink.
Snack attack: Scrambled egg wrap - only $9.50 with a regular coffee
Open on weekends? No
Wi-Fi? No

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Sydney
11

Pablo and Rusty's

This place is a well-oiled machine – even with a queue almost out the door we're still served with a smile and walk away with our coffee in minutes. Said coffee is serious black gold, and uses the P&R house blend.
Snack attack: Get a toastie – golden brown and extra cheesey
Open on weekends? Yes
Wi-Fi? No

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Sydney
12

The Precinct

Right at the foot of the Barangaroo towers, the Precinct is the 'hip' café sibling to Toby's Estate. Slick interiors and fast-paced service is the name of the game. They do soy and almond milk for no extra cost; they use their own beans (the Woolloomooloo blend on our visit); and four working baristas means you get in-and-out fast.
Snack attack: The generously topped avo on toast
Open on weekends? No
Wi-Fi? Yes

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Barangaroo
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13

Bel and Brio

Not content with being just a café, this one-stop-shop also has a bar, a dining offshoot, a wine shop and marketplace. But back to the coffee: they are doing a brew that is a little creamier than your usual. Service is friendly and fast and they get their beans from Will and Co.
Snack attack: Acai bowl with shaved coconut and yogurt.
Open on weekends? Yes
Wi-Fi? Yes

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Barangaroo
14

Parlour Lane Roasters

These guys dish out snappy espresso with Italian warmth. They're using All Press beans and the hidden hotel entrance means there's rarely a wait. You'll also find PLR2 just around the corner next to Lowes – a street front offshoot.
Snack attack: The bacon and egg roll is $9.50 with a regular coffee
Open on weekends? Yes
Wi-Fi? No

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Sydney
15

Kingswood Coffee

This welcoming coffee window in World Square is a little faux vintage, but when you are standing in a wind tunnel at the base of an enormous skyscraper some wood panelling, shiny brass and mottled mirror panels adds a heartening, lived-in look. You can’t drink in, but you can drink nearby.
Snack attack: Three cheese toastie with gruyere, cheddar and buffalo mozzarella
Open on weekends? Yes
Wi-Fi? No

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Sydney
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16

Joe and the Juice

This ultra glossy coffee and juice joint (which is one of the first in Australia from the Danish chain) is the ultimate city pit-stop. There’s Wi-Fi, a meeting room and lots of power points. As for the joe, there’s colour-coded sizes, in black or white with one or two shots, and they will tap one out as quick as they blend up smoothies and juices.
Snack attack: Rebuild smoothie with avo, banana, plant protein and chocolate almond milk
Open on weekends? Yes
Wi-Fi? Yes

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Sydney
17

Benchmark Espresso

Just opposite the QVB is this inconspicuous café. It's nothing fancy, but their beans are from Double Roasters, which means their coffee is big on flavour. Bonus: it's one of the cheaper coffees in the city (that doesn't taste like it) at $3.30 for a regular.
Snack attack: The bacon and egg roll is just $7.50 and has loads of bacon and two eggs
Open on weekends? No
Wi-Fi? No

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Sydney
18

Palomino Espresso

Just a minutes walk from the top of Wynyard Station is the very convenient and very good Palomino Espresso who have extracting coffees on this block for more than five years. They're using beans from Morgan Coffee Roasters and if you want to sit in there's usually plenty of tables.
Snack attack: Paleo bacon and egg tart
Open on weekends? No
Wi-Fi? No

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Sydney
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19

Workshop Espresso

Before George Street became a jungle of construction, Workshop was one of the busiest coffee shops in the city. While the queues here no longer reach ridiculous lengths, they still do a decent coffee. They're using their own Workshop blend from Toby's Estate, which is a little softer and sweeter.
Snack attack: Muffins
Open on weekends? Yes
Wi-Fi? No

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Sydney
20

Steel Bar and Grill

You’ll see the queue before you notice Steel. Don't be put off by said line – they know what they are doing here and your coffee will be out in no time. They also love their regulars and will know your name off by heart after just a few visits.
Snack attack: Loaded sandwiches.
Open on weekends? No
Wi-Fi? No

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Sydney
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